The End of Work….The Start of The Blog

It wasn’t that long ago that the task that occupied nearly all of us was agriculture.  Agriculture defined so many things related to human life….how we perceive time, culture, art… the list of things can, and has, filled many, many books.  But roughly 150 years ago, things began to change to the Industrial Era.  How we earned our living bore increasingly less relation to the farms of old and more towards the rhythm of the new factories.  But, today, we see the end of that manufacturing culture, at least in the West.  This is not to say that things won’t be manufactured any more than we have quit growing food!  But the way that these cultures consume the majority of human time will be radically different than we have been before.  We are a point of transition similar to that of the change from farming to manufacture, but we’re more conscious of that change than 100+ years ago…

So where ARE we going?  How are we going to make a ‘living’?    That’s the discussion I hope to have with you on this blog…

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “The End of Work….The Start of The Blog

  1. Looking forward toward reading more. I started using Amazon Prime a few weeks ago. Now even distribution could be managed by strangers on the other side of the Earth. I even get refried beans shipped to me every six months by subscription. What jobs are left besides consumption (which doesn’t pay very well)?

  2. Ron, my problem with your idea (and I base is on emails we exchanged over a year ago) is that you yourself applaud this new direction! I may still have those emails- and I will go look for them–but if I recall them, you argued that wealth production was going to concentrate into fewer and fewer hands and that 5-10 % of people could provide for the rest of us. I raised the question of how ridiculous it was to suppose that the aging population could be cared for and you just came back with the retort that someone just needed to invent a butt-wiping machine! I still think that is facetious (and preposterous).
    So that is my major objection to your thesis/initiative (besides my suspicion that you personally favor major wealth redistribution 🙂

  3. amba12

    ??? Doesn’t sound like anything I ever heard Ron say. As for applauding, that’s one way to deal with the inevitable!

  4. kngfish

    Bruce, I absolutely deny having made such remarks, especially about any such butt-wiping machine! I don’t recall the ‘concetration of wealth’ remarks you allude to either, and your suspicion about my favoring major wealth redistribution are fantasies in your head not mine. Dig up your posts BEFORE you attack me in this fashion.

  5. Icepick

    “Well, you know all this automation just allows us to enjoy the fruits of our labor. The rise of the leisure class, don’t you know. Now, instead of spending hours washing clothes using a washboard, we can instead eat bonbons and watch soap operas, assuming we know what washboards or soap operas are.” – my wife, about a week ago, responding to a report that Foxconn was going to start using millions of robots at its plants that manufacture Apple’s amazing electronic doohickeys probably resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs in China.

    Let’s hear it for leisure, baby!

  6. Icepick

    OMG! A butt- wiping machine? That’s either the best idea ever, or the worst idea since Skynet. I don’t think there’s any room for a middle-ground there….

  7. Well there’s a patented buttkicking device! link.

    Annie, Ron:
    Check you emails. I don’t want to start a dispute.

  8. amba12

    So you’re right about the machine! — but you misinterpreted Ron saying “wealth will be produced WITH fewer and fewer people” as “wealth will be produced FOR fewer and fewer people.” He was talking about automation and the replacement of employees, not the concentration of wealth. It’s a question how wealth will be created and distributed, but Ron is no advocate of the government doing it artificially. This whole blog is about the question of how new organic, market, tech, social media currents might evolve to do just that.

    Oh, and — Japan already has butt-wiping machines. Heated toilet seats with a variety of buttons that will spray and air-dry various parts of your anatomy. I think they produce fragrance and music too. For the international set, there’s a button with a little diagram of a butt and a spray of water, with the words in English, “Wash Rear.”

    Across the same washroom will be squat toilets for old peasant ladies.

  9. As for applauding, that’s one way to deal with the inevitable!

    The inevitable consequences are instability and reordering. If you’re sitting OK (however precariously), why applaud? I suppose it’s the same as laughing as you die. But it just seems ghoulish.

  10. Icepick

    More seriously, I’m living now as an extraneous person. Once you’ve been selected as such, there is no more living to be earned. And the social safety net is being slashed to pieces. It’s getting tougher and tougher being poor in the USA, and all the indicators are that the employed people have decided they want us unemployed people dead sooner rather than later. The social contract has been dissolved.

  11. Icepick

    I suppose it’s the same as laughing as you die.

    Laugh, cry, you’re dead either way.

    • karen

      Ewwww- ice!!
      We just butchered a nice 1/2Angus heifer about a month ago– instead of bringing her to the meat market we outsourced and a guy came here, shot and 1/4’d her and took her to a fella to cut and package her up. When the man shot her, she was dead before she hit the ground. I knew because her bladder gave. It was ME that was crying because i felt i needed to see the process from beginning to end– the beginning was a beautiful, wet black calf w/two white hind ankle socks– Juno.
      PS- we’ll feed the masses, i guess.

      Ice– you are young and educated and experienced. Timing is everything and it will come ’round for you.
      Is this Ron our Ron from amba’s?

      • kngfish

        Yes, Karen, it is I! I need to get my icon up here…

      • Icepick

        Ice– you are young and educated and experienced. Timing is everything and it will come ’round for you.

        Karen, I’m 43, my education is dragging us down because of student loan expense (not dischargable in bankruptcy, BTW), and my experience is now worthless, as my skills are rusty and/or out of date.

        Timing is everything, and my timing is terrible.

      • Icepick

        And sorry to here about the heifer. I’m aware of where my meat comes from, but I’m not sure I could do it myself.

  12. Icepick

    Amba, those machines you describe leave me leaning towards “the worst idea since Skynet.” As for squat toilets….

  13. wj

    OK, I see two separate issues here:
    1) how will people, in general, generate enough income to buy necessities and a few luxuries? In short, to get to somewhere near lower middle class. If that can’t be accomplished, at least for the vast majority in the developed countries, things will get ugly real fast. Stagnation of your lifestyle is no fun, but may be tolerable. A big drop in what you can afford to do may be tolerable for the elderly, at least those with decreasing energy levels, but is simply not going fly for people in their 30s and 40s. Which means that an economic model which goes there will be thrown out — as violently as necessary.

    2) assuming, for the sake of discussion, that the former can be done in ever fewer hours, what will people do with the rest of their day? Are we looking at ever more hours on the couch watching TV, or hunched over a computer game? The kind of people who will likely be commenting here can doubtless find other things to do with their increased non-work hours. But I hope none of us think that we are typical of the majority of the population.

    • kngfish

      Number 1 will be a central topic of this blog at length. Stay tuned!

      Number 2 ….hmmm….what if this becomes an ever-increasing part of not just our economy but the worlds! Not in our lifetime, I suspect, but as the rate of change increases….the ‘couch potatoization’ of the earth may happen… This is a problem that will be, hell, FUN to solve!

      • wj

        For you, it may be fun to solve. But then, I suspect that you are someone who likes a challenging puzzle.

        For the probable couch potatoes of the world . . . well, if they had that attitude, they probably wouldn’t be couch potatoes in the first place. So for them, it will be no fun at all — at least until someone else comes up with a solution.

  14. kngfish

    Wj, you reply strikes a chord! I have a lot of games….300+….but I don’t really like puzzles! I don’t do crosswords, jigsaws, math or linguistic puzzles…they frustrate and bore me! (Hey, it’s just me!) My distinction between the two is that puzzles are ‘solved’ just once…but you can play a game multiple times and get different results.

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